In Search of Respect: Ch. 6 Notes

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Published on 23 Mar 2012
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Chapter 6: Redrawing The Gender Line on The Street ANTA02
Misogyny is dislike of women
Even children knew about common violence against women
Witnessing Patriarchy in Crisis
Despite how common violence against women is, they don’t live in terror
They are being empowered slowly
Men lash out against women and children they can no longer control
Achievements of women have been framed in individual rights, ignores macro change that is
occurring
Structural forces have allowed women different roles
o A nuclear family of 2 children in inner NY cities can’t be afforded by just the father
working
Men struggle to hold on to masculinity and jibaro ways
Puerto Rican street culture has male authoritarianism and concerns over sexual fidelity y,
promiscuity, and public display of male domination
o This prevented the author as a male from having in depth conversations with women
Candy was mad that her husband didn’t give her any money and wasted it all on cocaine and his
girlfriend, leaving Candy to fend for herself and her 5 children
Domestic Violence in Postindustrial Turmoil
Someone always had to be around when author and Candy were talking, or else it would be
seen as inappropriate or even dangerous
Romantic elopement is legitimate cultural institution for jibaros
o Allows girl to resists her father’s domination
o Candy ran away from him with her mother’s blessing b/c Candy’s dad would beat Candy
As long as woman submits to her lover, and they have a household when she is pregnant, it is
okay
o It is also okay for the woman to leave her husband and find another if she is being
treated poorly
Ability to elope gives women bargaining power
Instead of villagers helping Candy escaping and finding her a new male household (in rural
traditions), Candy had inner city gangs to run to, who raped her
Candy saw her marriage to Felix as a woman that was doing something to escape abuse while
engaging in a love affair with Felix. She was an excited mother
o Institution saw differently, they believed Candy was not ready to be mother and tried to
take her child away
Candy was a battered woman and tried committing suicide
o Taught her how to manipulate social services
Violence against women is intergenerational, her father beat her and so did her dad
o But this is individualistic explanation (battered woman syndrome)
Chapter 6: Redrawing The Gender Line on The Street ANTA02
*Ignores structural and systemic dislocation of rural people to urban inner city
o Candy and Felix wanted a large family that was more suited for jibaro families, Felix’s
violence against her would be more acceptable in a rural setting labourers are needed
for urgent farming
Man commanding respect from women is obsolete in this economical constraint
Female Liberation Versus Traditional Sexual Jealousy
Candy held onto traditional family values, and saw her shooting of Felix as a jealous woman in
love with her unfaithful husband
o Gender confrontations assertions of individual rights are expressed in sexual jealousy
Women can express their individual rights by eloping, but have to submit to unclear household
Candy didn’t leave Felix until she violated kinship solidarity by sleeping with her sister
Candy’s anger is stated in rules of her culture’s previous generations
According to Puerto Rican folk , Candy’s “nerves” were responsible for her burst of anger
o Puerto Rican psychiatrists say ataques is a culture bound Puerto Rican syndrome most
commonly found in women who were abused since childhood by men, is like panic
attack
Candy followed patriarchal etiquette of rural Puerto Rican culture when she shot her husband
Recovery: Sex, Drugs, and More Romantic Love
After Felix went to jail, Candy went into depression and had money problems
Traditional female strategy was to fall in love
She fell in love with Primo and attributed her recovery to him
Selling drugs for Ray allowed her economic independence
Candy had gotten the respect of the streets by shooting her husband
o Allowed her to safely deal drugs
Inverting Patriarchy
Luis is Felix’s older brother, both were cousins of Primo
Although Candy tried to accomplish solidarity with other beaten women, she still accepted
patriarchal logic (blames women for male promiscuity and violence)
o Candy thought Felix was surrounded by unfaithful women, so he must have thought she
was unfaithful too
Candy never really escaped Felix’s control, she became a drug dealer, neglected her children and
flaunted her sexual conquests, just like her husband
Primo had trouble accepting role reversal: Candy made more money and was flaunting her
sexual conquests
Candy used male tactic for revenge against ex-lover by telling Primo he was a good lover in front
of his girlfriend
Chapter 6: Redrawing The Gender Line on The Street ANTA02
Contradictory Contexts for Women’s Struggles
Candy’s liberation occurred in a patriarchal context, she acted just like a man
Public independence of Puerto Rican women is coming from liberal individual rights more than
collective solidarity
Structural oppression in El Barrio for Primo’s mom:
o Economically exploited as off the books seamstress
o Socially marginalized in segregated inner city housing project
o When she leaves neighborhood, she is subject to racial hostility and struggles w/
language she hasn’t learned
BY moving to NY, Primo’s mom gained a lot of independence, but she was unsatisfied b/c it was
individual freedom (as defined in Anglo empowerment), she wanted women solidarity in Puerto
Rico
o E.g. She is able to run her own family, work for herself as single mother, but she
reminisces on Puerto Rico, where women would help each other with newborns
Confronting the State: Forging Single Motherhood on Welfare
This book argues historical political economy processes are internalized in lives of vulnerable
individuals
o State and public policy also has an effect
Policy makers and press always try to distinguish between worthy and unworthy poor
o Blame individual, their dependency on the system and their passivity
o In author’s experience, people in El Barrio were actively struggling with system
Candy had to balance selling drugs, legal employment and collecting welfare to keep and feed
her children
o Government often re-evaluates and changes application process to cut people off
welfare
Candy had to fight with welfare system b/c they wanted her children to have arbitrary social
insurance cards, when they are not legally eligible to work
o Problem is welfare came too late, Candy already had to start drug dealing
Red tape made it difficult for Candy to get welfare again, when she decided to stop selling crack
The Internalization of Institutional Constraints
Candy was unable to find work had a baby at home, and welfare didn’t cover all her children
She was led into selling drugs again
When Candy got busted Marvin (her boss) wouldn’t bail her out, Ray did it, even though she
didn’t get busted working for him
Mothers in Jail
Just like structural tensions in US, women are invading US jails, where there were traditionally
more men

Document Summary

Even children knew about common violence against women. Despite how common violence against women is, they don"t live in terror. Men lash out against women and children they can no longer control. Achievements of women have been framed in individual rights, ignores macro change that is occurring. Structural forces have allowed women different roles: a nuclear family of 2 children in inner ny cities can"t be afforded by just the father working. Men struggle to hold on to masculinity and jibaro ways. Puerto rican street culture has male authoritarianism and concerns over sexual fidelity y, promiscuity, and public display of male domination: this prevented the author as a male from having in depth conversations with women. Candy was mad that her husband didn"t give her any money and wasted it all on cocaine and his girlfriend, leaving candy to fend for herself and her 5 children.